Foiled mafia attempt leads governor to call for army help

Giuseppe Antoci

 MESSINA -- The president of Nebrodi national park, Giuseppe Antoci, has survived a mafia assassination attempt, thanks to his armoured car and bodyguards who managed to fight off the ambush that occurred on a secluded mountain road, meanwhile there is talk of sending the army in.  Antoci had been travelling under protection after threats due to his attempts to curb illegal grazing pastures used by the mafia.

 It has been reported that at least two people opened fire on the car that was travelling between San Fratello and Cesarò, whilst it had to screech to a half thanks to boulders placed in the way of the road.  “My thanks go to the State Police for saving my life.  I am worried but calm,” said Antoci after the incident.  Nobody was injured in the shootout.

 Sicilian governor Rosario Crocetta spoke about the event at a press conference in Palermo: “With Antoci’s ambush, the mafia has raised the bar.  The state must react appropriately.  I suggest sending the army into the towns around Nebrodi Park to carry out searches, combing the countryside.  As happened at the time of the Moro kidnapping and of the Sicilian Vespers.”

 He continued, “Without adequate reaction from the State towards the mafia attack against the president of the Nebrodi Park, Giuseppe Antoci, it would pass on the message of a green light for a new season of terror murders.  It’s not enough just to strengthen Antoci’s escort, as well as that of the more exposed Nebrodi mayors, because what has happened is an act of war of the highest level, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in Italy for years.  We must act now – the State must intervene with fine-tooth comb searches that do not give mafia families any respite.”

 Antoci has been reporting on the whirlwind path of money in the hands of the mafia for years, in his position as the head of the national park, as a result he received several threats, including bullets through the post and a letter, formed of cut-out letters threatening that “You’ll end up slaughtered, you and Crocetta.”

 Traces of blood were found at the scene of the shootout, leading investigators to believe one of the attackers may be injured.  They are also running DNA tests.